Fairfield schools dismiss early following threats - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Fairfield schools dismiss early following threats

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Police outside of the Fairfield Warde High School. (WFSB photo) Police outside of the Fairfield Warde High School. (WFSB photo)

On Friday, all 17 schools in the Fairfield school system were locked down because of threats made to three schools.

Following the lock down, school officials dismissed all of the schools early and began an investigation with the FBI.

"We received an unverifiable threat to our schools," said Mike Tetreau, first selectman. "The schools immediately went into lock down, an emergency management team formed and opened up the EOC. We've been responding since then."

Officials held a news conference at 11:15 a.m. and released updated information. They provided another update around 12:30 p.m.

"All of our schools, both private and public, within the town of Fairfield are safe and secure," said Chief Gary MacNamara.

Dismissal information can be found here.

All after school and evening activities were also canceled.

The schools were in full lockdown mode earlier Friday morning. It was later followed by "lockout mode."

"Lockout mode" means no one is allowed to enter or leave the building, police said.

Police said around 9 a.m., a person called and said he was on Black Rock Turnpike, and that he was holding hostages. An address he gave doesn't exist and police didn't find anything in the area.

They checked homes in the area and considered the threat to be a possible "swatting" incident because nothing was found. They determined the incident to be false.

"All of a sudden we heard them say this is a lock down, and we kind of thought it was a drill," said Ludlowe junior Jared Kulkas. "First they covered up the windows and then we had to sit in the corner."

"Shortly after that, we began to receive a series of phone calls at a variety of our schools in town indicating a threat of violence against our schools," McNamara said. "We train for this, we prepare for this and immediately our emergency management team, our school superintendent, our fire chief, we all convened and took steps to secure our schools."

Three schools, including Roger Ludlowe Middle School, Fairfield Warde High School and Holland Hill Elementary School, received threats. Roger Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde's calls referenced pipe bombs. Holland Hill's simply referenced a man in the area.

Fairfield Public Schools confirmed the threat at Fairfield Warde.

As a result, all schools were locked down. There are roughly 10,000 students in the school district.

FPS said there was a police presence at every school, but officers have been unable to confirm any of the threats.

Still, FPS said police took the situation seriously.

Police said officers from neighboring towns were called in to help. They said they were working on clearing checkpoints.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said his office has been in touch with Fairfield officials and state agencies and are ready to provide assistance if needed. He said he was receiving real-time updates.

McNamara said they were working to reunite parents with their children and investigate who made the anonymous threats.

"All of our children in the town of Fairfield are safe and secure," he reiterated.

FPS asked parents not to come to the schools. For updated information, however, police said could have reported to the Fairfield University. School officials said they also updated parents at the Fairfield College Preparatory School's parking lot.

Parents told Eyewitness News that this was a scary experience.

"You're frightened of course," said Ken O'Toole, a parent. "My daughter and I we've gone over this 100 times, because this is the reality. But lets hope this is all a big hoax and nothing really happens."

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